Eight Wichita State track & field student-athletes will travel to Des Moines, Iowa this week for the culmination of their season at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The NCAA Championships begin at Noon, Wednesday, June 6 and run through Saturday, June 9 at Drake Stadium.
Wichita State’s Tomas Cotter (3,000-meter steeplechase), Tanya Friesen (heptathlon), J’Lynn Ledesma (high jump), Todd McKown (110-meter hurdles), Lawson Montgomery (110-meter hurdles), Natalie Morerod (400-meter hurdles), Brett Trudo (javelin) and Aliphine Tuliamuk (5,000 meters and 10,000 meters) will compete in Des Moines.
The Shockers are sending their largest contingent to the championships since 2003 when Wichita State sent nine student-athletes. Six of the eight Shockers who will compete in Des Moines this week are from Kansas.
Most Shockers qualified for the NCAA Championships via their performances at the NCAA West Preliminary Round May 24-26 in Austin, Texas. Multi-events are not contested in the preliminary round, so Shocker junior Friesen qualified in the heptathlon with the personal-best points total of 5,472 she scored during the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships.
Tuliamuk, a junior from Kapenguria, Kenya, ran the fastest 10,000-meter time in the preliminary round (33:31.54) and enters the finals with the top seed. She ran the 5,000 meters in 16:16.87 in the preliminary round, which gives her the 13th seed in the event for Des Moines. Tuliamuk won 2012 MVC titles in both events and her season-best times (5K: 15:26.07; 10K: 32:39.35) set conference records this spring. She’ll compete in the women’s 10K final at 8:45 p.m. Thursday and in the 5K final at 12:19 p.m. Saturday.
McKown, Valley Center, Kan., and Montgomery, Bennington, Kan., carry the No. 4 and No. 13 seeds, respectively, in the men's 110-meter hurdles. McKown broke the Wichita State school record in the event with his time of 13.42 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Montgomery ran a personal-best time of 13.63 in Austin to advance. The seniors will run in the 110-meter hurdle semifinals at 6:50 p.m. Thursday. The top runners from the semifinals advance to run in the event finals at 12:07 p.m. Saturday.
Senior Trudo, from Wamego, Kan., is seeded ninth in the javelin after his throw of 233-2 in the preliminary round. His season-best throw of 237-1 came at the MVC Outdoor Championships. He finished second in the event at the conference meet for all-MVC recognition and will compete in Des Moines starting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Sophomore Morerod, from Gardner, Kan., enters the meet with the No. 15 seed in the 400-meter hurdles. She ran the event in 57.88 in Austin. She set the Wichita State record at the MVC meet with a championship-winning time of 57.48. The event semifinals start at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and the top runners will then advance to the finals at 5:45 p.m. Friday.
Friesen, from Buhler, Kan., will compete in the women’s heptathlon starting at 1 p.m. Thursday with the 100-meter hurdles. The first day of the multi-event will also include the high jump, shot put and 200 meters. The heptathlon continues at 3 p.m. Friday with the long jump, followed by the javelin and 800 meters. She is seeded 19th after winning the MVC title.
Cotter, a junior from Dundalk, Ireland, will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal at 7:25 p.m. Thursday. The top runners will then advance to the event finals at 11:52 a.m. Saturday. Cotter, who won a MVC title, carries the event’s No. 21 seed after his time of 8:52.44 in the preliminary round. His fastest time of the season came at the Stanford Invitational where he finished in 8:51.88.
Ledesma, a sophomore from Wellington, Kan., is seeded 22nd in the women’s high jump after her mark of 5-9 ¼ in the preliminary round. She finished second at the MVC Outdoor Championships with her personal-best jump of 5-10, which ranks tied for second all-time at Wichita State. The women’s high jump begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Friesen, Trudo and Tuliamuk represented Wichita State at the 2011 NCAA Championships as the Shockers sent a total of five student-athletes to the outdoor finals. Tuliamuk received USTFCCCA First Team All-America honors for her finishes in both the 5K and 10K in 2011. Trudo will compete in the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in his career.